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In this weeks podcast Jim Coughenhour rejoins the conversation to talk all things Phoenix Suns for this episode. So much podcast this week folks. Not to toot a horn or anything, but this one covered a lot and had some things.

With Robert Sarver playing the public negotiations tactic with Eric Bledsoe on the radio we had to dive into that as well as P.J. Tucker being sentenced, Team U.S.A. cuts, potential Suns trades, and of course we gave Bledsoe a theme song for this summer. Go get this podcast, folks!


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The latest news (I use that word in the most liberal sense) in the negotiations between the Phoenix Suns and Eric Bledsoe suggests that he might be considering taking the qualifying offer.

Here's a quick recap of the timeline to date:

Our buddy Chris Broussard (through sources, what else) kicked off the pyrotechnics on July 17th by suggesting that the Suns were offering Bledsoe a four year, $48 million contract while his agent, Rich Paul, was thinking more along the lines of five years, $80 million. At this point everyone was sure that the $32 million gap would be easily bridged over a picnic lunch.

Surprisingly, that didn't happen.

On July 26th Eric made his first public statement regarding the negotiations. It really wasn't a statement, but more of a terse response to a direct question asked by a reporter during a street ball tournament in Birmingham, AL (Eric's hometown).

First off, I'm going to let my agent handle it. I can understand the Phoenix Suns are using a restricted free agent against me, but I understand that.

How that is to be interpreted is open to speculation. It was a brief answer and Eric isn't the most verbose or eloquent speaker.

Three days later (July 29th) a story by Chris Haynes of Comcast SportsNet depicted a much more grisly situation. Apparently a source with knowledge of the negotiations (one of those guys) provided his take on the state of affairs.

According to league sources, an "ominous development" has arisen with sides still "very far apart" in contract negotiations. It has even escalated to the point where the "relationship is on the express lane to being ruined."

The express lane part was pure gold.

Now the rhetoric was pumping up, with suspicions that this was intentionally leaked to the media (stuff like that has been known to happen) to put the screws on the Suns.

The Phoenix Suns rejoinder came in the form of a Robert Sarver impromptu radio appearance on the Burns and Gambo radio show on Friday, August 1st.

At this point contract negotiations were basically happening under the eye of public scrutiny rather than in private between the parties. Sarver himself confirmed the previous reports of the contract offered to Bledsoe (four years, $48 million) and deemed it a fair offer (which it probably is). Sarver described the relationship as being much more cordial than the previous Chris Haynes report.

He also said the Suns would be "more than happy to sit down with him and continue to negotiate it."

Unfortunately, that tells me that there were no ongoing negotiations except for those being done in plain sight...

Which brings us to Chris Broussard's tweet today (Tuesday, August 5th).

Looking like qualifying offer. Relationship w/Phx going n wrong direction"@kevininzunza31: @Chris_Broussard Any news on Eric Bledsoe Chris?"

— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) August 5, 2014

Leaked information?  More posturing?

Certainly, this situation seems unsettling. With both sides apparently lobbying to win the court of public opinion and more frustration and enmity (supposedly) emanating from team Bledsoe the two parties seem to be at an impasse (for now).

These situations can be fickle.

The threat of Bledsoe taking the qualifying offer (not that he's actually made that threat) has serious implications for both sides. It would be a blight on the Suns image around the league and put them in a position to potentially lose a very valuable piece for nothing next summer. If Eric takes the QO the Suns can't trade him without his approval.

However, Bledsoe's gambit has the potential to blow up in his face. The QO would only guarantee him $3.7 million for the upcoming season. That's a serious risk given the inherent nature of injury being a part of the game, especially with Bledsoe's own history.

Not only that, but long term Bledsoe can't really earn much more than the offer the Suns currently have on the table.

If Bledsoe does take the qualifying offer he will have to a) stay healthy and b) play like an All-Star to earn a contract that will meet or exceed what he can get guaranteed from the Suns right now. That's a huge gamble. One might call it an insanely idiotic gamble. Not that I'm calling it that, just that one might.

For it to get to that point there would have to be serious animosity from Bledsoe towards the Suns. Neither side benefits from this type of situation at all. It's lose, lose.

Here's what I think we know.

Eric is not going to accept the Suns four year, $48 million deal.

The Suns are not going to offer Bledsoe the five year, $80 million contract he is apparently seeking.

Eric can't possibly be audacious and reckless enough to take the qualifying offer (can he?).

Which means there are two likely scenarios.

The Suns and camp Bledsoe will find a middle ground. If the Suns upped their offer to four years, $56 million that would already surpass Bledsoe's maximum earning ability if he takes the QO. The sides could also agree to a deal with less years.

Eric Bledsoe's agent finds a team that will offer more than the QO, potentially on a two year deal with a player option* that would at least give Eric a little more security than the $3.7 million he could be facing. A sign-and-trade could also enter the discussion if things do get to (or are at) the irreparable state they are (supposedly) headed to.

Now we can wait for the next salvo to be fired in this saga. It seems like each haymaker has around a three day shelf life, so expect more news Friday. Most likely it will be more of that liberal sense type of news I referenced earlier.

*The only way for Bledsoe to become an unrestricted free agent next summer is to take the qualifying offer. Any deal that he signs would have to include at least a two year commitment.

Another day, another wrinkle in the Eric Bledsoe free agency story. Today, the report is that Bledsoe is leaning towards accepting the qualifying offer of one year for $3.7 million. The rumor was...

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If only Isaiah Thomas were more honest.

First it was Love, then LeBron, and now we seem to be truly focused on important things.  Chiefly, what to do about the Eric Bledsoe situation.  Let me explain how this contract negotiation is being handled from both camps.  First there's a insulting offer, followed by a public statement of, "we're not trying to make an insulting offer."  It's an amazing and endlessly entertaining situation when every party can be wrong.  Suns owner Robert Sarver joined the Burns and Gambo show on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Friday evening, unsolicited mind you, to discuss how the back and forth with Mr. Bledsoe is going.

Gambo also penned this open letter to Bledsoe, identifying agent Rich Paul as the reason we can't seem to figure out a contract extension.

Current NBA executives and prominent sports agents with no vested interest in the Suns were asked if they thought the offer from Phoenix was fair.  Under the condition of anonymity the consensus was unanimous.

Here's one perspective, suggesting that Bledsoe and the Suns could learn from Patrick Peterson's recent negotiations with the Arizona Cardinals.

So far Bledsoe's winning this summer.  His handpicked "Team Birmingham" defeated the Gilbert Arenas coached "Ball Up," their first loss in four years, at Lawson State Community College over the weekend.  Check out the highlights, featuring Bone Collector. Yes, Bone Collector.

Everyone will rank crimes differently, but driving intoxicated is in my opinion an incredibly disgusting and heinous act that is not taken seriously enough in this country.  P.J. Tucker stated, "I will not let you down," in a statement following his sentence of 3 days in jail and 11 days of home detention for driving under the influence on May 10th.

T.J. Warren and Tyler Ennis had themselves a photo shoot at the 2014-15 Rookie Symposium.  Sadly, no Bogdan Bogdanovic.  I've got you covered though.

The Cavaliers are still making moves.  While talk of different packages that involve Kevin Love, Andrew Wiggins, and Anthony Bennett continue to circulate, Cleveland is now making a play to bring former Sun Shawn Marion to the Eastern Conference.

I don't know about you, but Greg Monroe remaining unsigned makes me a little uncomfortable.  I fall into the camp that thinks the Detroit big man would be an awful fit with the Suns, and I understand that seems to be the most popular opinion.  Still, I would rather he just go ahead and ink a new deal so I don't wake up one day to the news that the Suns tempo hit a brick wall overnight.  At least one teammate in Detroit expects to see Monroe in a Pistons uniform next season.

Phoenix fans will eat this up.  When Isaiah Thomas talked with SB Nation's Sactown Loyalty about future meetings between the Suns and Kings, he left nothing up to interpretation.  "I tell everybody I love Sacramento, I always will love Sacramento, but when we play them I'm going to kill Sacramento." "Kill Sacramento."  That's the early favorite for my fantasy basketball team name next season.

A pair of former Phoenix Suns coaches reunite in Brooklyn to help lead the Nets following the departure of Jason Kidd.

Former Sun Grant Hill and his wife Tamia are donating $1.25 million to support Duke University athletics and the Trinity College of Arts and Sciences.  This gift will contribute to the success of Duke Forward, a $3.25 billion fundraising effort.  That's billion, with a "b."  Like "Ball State" where I went to school.  I don't know if you've ever heard of it, it's a little different than Duke.

Western Conference potholes. Here's a look at what the path to the playoffs could look like for the Suns next season.

NBA bookkeeping. Click on this and thank me later.  Some helpful information as we navigate these frightening free agent times, as well as some fascinating contract quirks you probably didn't know existed.

Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale is hosting auditions for Phoenix Suns dancers on August 9th.  That's this Saturday.  Stop reading NBA blogs and get your fat ass in the gym.  By the way, bring a head shot, but know that it will not be returned.

I deliberately didn't include anything about the Paul George injury.  You're welcome.

A couple of developments, though one is more earth-shattering than another.

The one that is not earth-shattering:

"Like P.J. himself, the Phoenix Suns take P.J.'s behavior very seriously. We remain fully committed to the highest standards of personal and professional conduct as we develop a championship culture. All of the members of our team, both on the court and in the front office, understand the importance of obeying the law and conducting ourselves in a way that honors our community. In considering this matter, we concluded that P.J. was sincere in his remorse and in his resolve to accept the consequences of his actions. We are convinced that he will take the necessary steps to avoid any such conduct in the future. The Suns do not in any way condone his conduct, but we do support him as he works through this."

--Lon Babby, President of Basketball Operations

And now one that is, at least little bit.

In an age where celebrities and athletes find ways to get around the law, or own P.J. Tucker stepped right into it and took it head on.

Although, it appears his lawyer was able to plea down a bit. Should have been 45 jail days, but Coro tweets 3. Everything else seems to line up.

P.J. is owning up to it.

Once the deed is done, this is the best we could hope for.

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